One thing that is comparatively easy in Old Georgian is the declension, i.e. the cases of nouns, pronouns and adjectives. There is no grammatical gender (so no distinction between e.g. masculine and feminine in forms, predicates, etc.). The number of cases is fairly high, though (8 or less, depending on grammatical presentation), but there is really only one set of endings (applicable to all nouns, pronouns and adjectives with only minor adjustments). For an overview, see Fahnrich p. 145 or Zwolanek p. 8.
The terminology used for the Georgian cases (and the system itself) is not always consistent across modern presentations. Here is a list for the cases in the order presented by Fahnrich, with the alternative labels used by Zwolanek in brackets:
- absolutive (Prädikativ)
- allative (not used by Zwolanek, since it is an extended form of the genitive)
The uses of cases (case functions)
The use of the of the cases is a bit more complicated, since the use of some of the cases depends on the tense of the sentence. To put it brief (but also displaying one the surprising features of Georgian), simple sentences in present tense have the subject in nominative and direct objects in dative; simple sentences in the aorist tense have the subject in ergative and direct objects in nominative. The genitive is used for most compounds of nouns; postpositions (prepositions coming after the noun/pronoun instead of in from of) are normally are in most cases constructed with genitive, but some with dative (and very few with instrumental or or adverbial). On case functions, see Fahnrich p. 186-90 or Zwolanek p. 8 and p. 58-64; for an overview of postpositions, see Zwolanek 20.
Here are some drills that will help you learn the declension by heart. First some nouns (first in singular, then in plural):
Please combine the Georgian words (singular forms of the word perq-i 'foot') with the correct case:
Please combine the Georgian words (singular forms of the word mama-i 'father') with the correct case. Note that the final -a drops out in certain forms (genitive, dative, and adverbial; and also in the -eb- plural: მამ-ებ mam-eb):
Please combine the Georgian words (plural forms of the word mama-i 'father') with the correct case (of either the -eb- plural or the -n- plural.
The most recurring words that are declined are the articles/demonstrative pronouns (Fahnrich p. 150 and 152; Zwolanek p. 13). Their forms may be learnt from the following:
Please combine the forms of the article/demonstrative pronoun ese 'this' with the correct case:
Please combine the forms of the article/demonstrative pronoun ege \'that\' with the correct case:
Please combine the forms of the article/demonstrative pronoun igi 'that (remote)' with the correct case: